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Franklin County sees 6th death as numbers rise

The number of new cases of COVID-19 across Franklin and Essex counties continued to rise before the Thanksgiving holiday.

A sixth Franklin County resident died this week after contracting COVID-19, the county reported Wednesday. All six of those deaths happened this month.

Since August, when an Elizabethtown nursing home experienced a deadly coronavirus outbreak, Essex County has seen 15 COVID-19 fatalities, 16 if you count a patient who received care at the nursing home but who lived in Clinton County.

As of Thanksgiving Day, Franklin County reported having 59 active cases of COVID-19 countywide, 10 new cases found since Wednesday morning and five people recently recovered.

“Currently, Franklin County’s majority of cases are occurring through community spread resulting from large gatherings, parties, travelers not quarantining and lack of face covering use among residents,” Franklin County Public Health Director Kathleen Strack said Wednesday.

As of Wednesday, Essex County reported 43 active cases of COVID-19, 12 new since Tuesday. One new Essex County resident with COVID-19 was hospitalized with COVID-19, bringing the total number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 countywide to three.

“Simply put, community spread is happening and it is being fueled by small, indoor gatherings among family and friends, who then unknowingly bring infection to their worksites, schools, places of worship, and sites they frequent for recreation and entertainment,” the Essex County Health Department said in a news release Tuesday. “Individual cases, leading to infections in extended family and in congregate settings, are impacting St. Mary’s School and church, Ticonderoga Central School District, and the Elderwood Nursing Home in Ticonderoga.

“One additional case (Tuesday) has identified being at 20 Main Bar in Ausable Forks (town of Jay) on November 17, 2020. This community shares a border with both Essex and Clinton counties, and multiple cases from each have spent time at this establishment in the last two weeks (prior to its voluntary temporary closure). Cases in this cluster have also reached the neighboring town of Wilmington,” the release from the health department reads.

“Lake Placid (town of North Elba) is continuing to experience an uptick in cases, with several now associated with the town’s large hotel, restaurant, and tourism industry. No large clusters are currently occurring at any one business or venue, but continued awareness is important.”

“COVID-19 cases in Essex County are not confined anymore to one household, one business or one nursing home, like we experienced over the summer,” Essex County Public Health Director Linda Beers said Tuesday. “With the colder months upon us, people are spending more time inside, maybe they’re taking fewer precautions, letting their guard down — and we’re starting to see the effects of that.”

Between the two counties, since March, 485 people have recovered after contracting COVID-19. Some people who are deemed recovered by the health department have reported still experiencing symptoms long afterward.

The statewide positivity rate declined to 3.18% on Wednesday from 3.62% the day before, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. Statewide, 3,056 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, 74 more than were hospitalized as of Tuesday. Sixty-seven New Yorkers with COVID-19 died on Wednesday.

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